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China to publish regular information on social security fund
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The Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS) said it would publish information about the country's huge social security fund in April every year, a move aimed to make management of the two-trillion-yuan fund more transparent.

The ministry offered a brief introduction to the social security system along with information about the fund by the end of 2006 in a document posted on its website on Thursday.

The document shows that 187.66 million Chinese, or 76 percent of urbanites in employment, have been covered by pension insurance by the end of 2006. It's the first time the ministry has revealed the coverage of the pension insurance system.

It also said 631 billion yuan was added to pension accounts in 2006, while 489.7 billion yuan was expended, leaving the accumulative balance of pension accounts at a total of 548.9 billion yuan by the end of 2006.

Similar information about medical insurance, unemployment insurance, work-place injury insurance and fertility insurance is also included in the document.

Previously, there was no such information about individual insurance categories.

However, information about how the fund was invested and investment yields were not included in the document.

"The disclosure of information about the social security fund, especially its financial information, is to facilitate supervision from the public and make the fund more transparent," said Xu Yanjun, deputy director of the ministry's social security management department.

The annual disclosure of information would be made available to the public via press conferences, on websites of government authorities or on television, radio and newspapers.

"The information disclosed should include cases of violations of laws and regulations. Once identified and dealt with, these cases must be revealed to the public quickly," Xu said.

The ministry said Thursday that more than 98 percent of the problems discovered by auditing authority have been corrected, without citing any particular cases.

Yet, more information could be expected in future disclosures, as the process of key cases related to the social security fund is required to be included in the disclosure, according to the ministry.

"The attempt is after all an important step forward, and such information disclosure would be improved and more details will be provided in the future," Xu said.

Information for 2007 is expected to be published next April.

(Xinhua News Agency November 30, 2007)

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